As an adult, you’re probably aware of the importance of getting screened for oral cancer. But what about screenings for children? You’ll be glad to know that the risk is low (but, unfortunately, not non-existent). As with all cancers, early detection is key to successful treatment outcomes. Fortunately, screenings are included in every checkup with a children’s dentist in Castle Rock. Learn more below about what you can expect from a screening for your child and some things to keep an eye out for at home!
What Is an Oral Cancer Screening Like?
Dentists receive pathology training in dental school so they can be aware of what to look for and how to spot tissue changes that may because for concern. Although every dentist does their screenings a bit differently, here are the basic steps:
- To see the back of your child’s throat, a dentist may ask them to stick out their tongue and say, “Ahhhh.”
- Next, the roof of the mouth, inside of the cheeks and underneath the tongue will be visually examined.
- They may also be asked move their tongue from side-to-side.
- The lips are a common spot for a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, so they’ll be visually checked as well.
What Signs and Symptoms Should You Be Aware Of?
Fortunately, oral cancer in children is quite rare, but screening and early detection is still crucial. Before listing some things to keep an eye out for at home, keep in mind that many harmless conditions cause lumps or bumps. It’s also completely normal for children to get an occasional canker sore or two – so don’t panic if you find something.
Just schedule an appointment with a dentist for kids in Castle Rock right away so you can have the peace of mind that everything is healthy.
With that said, here are some signs and symptoms to be aware of:
- Tissue on the tongue, lips, cheeks, floor of the mouth or throat that is swollen, crusting, rough or thickening
- Any sore or lesion that hasn’t gone away on its own within about 10 days
- Red, white or speckled patches that have a velvety texture
- Any part of the oral cavity that your child reports feeling numb
- Persistent tenderness or a sore throat
- Chronic ear pain
- Changes in your child’s voice
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue
Scheduling regular checkups for your children is about more than just checking for cavities – it provides them with comprehensive care for every aspect of their oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Layne Benzley is a children’s dentist in Castle Rock who understands that oral cancer screenings save lives. He is committed to comprehensive care for every patient and always take the time to perform a screening at each checkup. If you have any other questions or concerns, he can be contacted via his website or at (303)660-5373.